Voted the #1 European destination in 2019, Budapest, Hungary should be at the top of your travel to-do list. And while a celebrated city, it's not without its fair share of lesser known details. Take a look at some fun facts about this capital city.
1. Two for One
Budapest is like two cities in one! Mostly because it is! Bisected by the Danube River, the cities of Buda and Pest are joined by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. But if you look back to the 1800's, you'll see it was actually the three cities of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda that officially joined forces in 1873 under the new name of "Budapest" to create the city we know today!
Image courtesy of: Pandea.com
2. Spectacular Skyline
The historic skyline of Budapest is one of Europe's finest and has been preserved thanks to the 96 meter rule. Chosen as a nod to the year 896 when he Hungarian Magyars settled in the area, the rule states that no building can be over 96 meters high.
Image courtesy of: TripSavvy
3. A Puzzling Place
Everyone's favorite mind-bending block, the Rubik's Cube, was invented right here in Budapest. Originally known as the "Magic Cube," it was created by, you guessed it, Ernő Rubik in 1974.
4. What Lies Beneath
Budapest is an amazing city, both above and below the ground. That's right, Budapest sits atop a subterranean world made up of miles of caverns and tunnels. The most exciting can be found under Castle Hill which has served as a prison, a bomb shelter, a hospital, and today, a museum.
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5. Tongue Twister
Despite Hungary being a European destination, the mother tongue actually originates from Asia and is most closely related to Finnish and Estonian as well as some Russian dialects. The language is actually called " Magyar" after the original people and is one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world!
6. Leading the Way
Budapest boasts the oldest subway system in continental Europe. Operating since 1896, the only competition is the London metro which has been up and running since 1863. And the kicker? Transportation is free for all EU citizens over 65.
Image courtesy of: ACDN Architizer
7. Water, Water Everywhere
In need of a spa day? Look no further! Budapest has more thermal springs than anywhere else in the world. You can take advantage of the relaxing and even healing powers at bath houses across the city including the famed Gellert, Lukács, Szechenyi, and Kiraly Baths.
Image courtesy of: Szechenyi Spa Baths
8. The Spice of Life
Colorful puzzles aren't the only thing to come out of Budapest. The bright red spice, Paprika is the national spice of Hungary and traces its roots back to Budapest where the plant has been growing in abundance since 1569.
Image courtesy of: Daily News Hungary
9. Built to Last
The long and varied history of Budapest is more than obvious in its wide range of architecture styles. Strolling through the city, you'll see buildings built in almost every style from Baroque to Art Nouveau to Bauhaus and even the big, basic Socialist-style boxes characteristic of the Eastern Bloc.
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10. For all the Numismatists Out There
That means "coin collectors!" Budapest and the rest of Hungary isn't on the Euro. They still use Hungarian Forints, abbreviated as HUF. The name comes from the city of Florence that also originally used a gold-based currency back in the day.
Image courtesy of: Budapest Agent